Probably the best know Taiwanese independent artist on the global music landscape is the symphonic metal band Chthonic. The band formed in 1995 and made their mark incorporating classical oriental instrumentation and Taiwanese mythology into the otherworldly theatrics of extreme metal. Just as black metal developed in Northern Europe as a way to invoke lost pagan ideals, Chthonic have adopted the outspoken genre to elevate Taiwanese culture which has been marginalized over the past few decades. Consequently, Chthonic has developed a political agenda alongside their symphonic performance which includes the classical Chinese violin or erhu, nightmarish synthesizer, shred guitar and wailing vocals provided by the group's leader and spokesman Freddy Lim. They have recorded several full length studio albums which have become popular among metal fans worldwide, but the 2006 release Seediq Bale has become their most notable featuring key members Doris Yeh on bass, Jesse the Infernal on guitars and erhu master Su-Nung. A DVD & CD collection entitled Anthology: A Decade on the Throne also came out in 2006 demonstrating the live symphonic atmosphere surrounding Chthonic.
Chthonic was first conceived as a live performance group and their frontman Freddy Lim was instrumental in providing Taiwan with its first major concert events when he formed the Taiwan Rock Alliance in the late 90's. This gave rise to events like the Formoz festival and Say Yes to Taiwan which gave local indie bands a solidified identity and also introduced major foreign acts to the island. After the release of Chthonic's first album Where the Ancestors' Souls Gathered in 1999, the band became known worldwide heading to Hong Kong, Japan, Europe and American to appear at concerts and festivals. By 2007, they had become the first Asian band to join the legendary Ozzy Osbourne's Ozzfest and started their journey to the US with a tour titled "UNlimited Taiwan" taking the opportunity to promote an awareness of Taiwanese culture abroad as well as protest the block China has placed on Taiwan joining the United Nations. Many Taiwanese Americans of all ages turned out to support the band in hopes of seeing change in cross-straight relations among the youth movement surrounding the band. Back home in Taiwan, Chthonic is still active in the indie scene working on new material while Freddy Lim is working on keeping TRA moving in new directions as a concert organizer.